Fort Clinch State Park

For our last night in Florida, we had originally planned to do some beach front camping on American Beach at Burney Park.

It was free and ON THE BEACH!

Our destination for this trip had initially been Magnolia Beach, Texas. Magnolia Beach is a haven for RVers and travelers as it delivers 100% free beach camping with restrooms with hot showers.

Pretty awesome.

Our next goal stop after that was Padre Island National Seashore.

Beach was our goal.

Well, Beach didn’t really happen on this trip, and it was slightly discouraging.

We managed to score the absolute last campsite at Saint George Island State Park, located on a barrier island on the Florida panhandle on the night of April 5th.

I got a lot of DSLR photos there but not much on the phone. I did take a very quick video of the dunes on the way out:

Dunes Here👈🏻👈🏻👈🏻

Yea, my videos aren’t all that but it’s a start. I’m a photographer, not a videographer. My brain is pulled in 7,500 different directions at any given moment so …

St. George is a beautiful state park. The campground is clean and nice and there were tons of kids running around. Mr 9YO made friends with the incredibly well behaved and polite southern boys one site over and I hoped it would rub off.

When we woke up, it was my birthday and that was pretty awesome.

Thanks, Lovins, for making this happen 💜

Moving right along.

We landed at Ocean Pond because of weather. Long story short, the weather coming out of Texas was scary, at best, with things like flooding and tornadoes.

We imagined the best case scenario, where the tornado would tear through, ripping out the foot long spikes holding our tent to the earth and tossing it into the bay. Worst case scenarios included things like us trying to outrun flood waters or a mile wide cyclone in the truck, while the tent was being tossed into the bay behind us.

3 hours later, I’ll get to my point, which is that we didn’t make it to the beach.

On the drive to Fernandina Beach, Florida, we decided to not go to the free site, but splurge and get a site at Fort Clinch State Park.

We were in the Atlantic Campground, and only a short walk to the beach.

We must be true Rhode Islanders, through and through because I know I stepped onto that sand and felt renewed. Like the sea pumped my veins.

The waves drowned out everything else and the sea breeze rolled onto shore. Anytime I have been away from saltwater, I start to have withdrawals; something I don’t always realize or understand.

We combed the shore, looking for shark 🦈 teeth and anything else that was cool.

At sunset, we made it back to our tent, from which you could hear the waves crashing behind the wind.

We were wrapping up the babies for bed, when all of sudden we heard Mr 9YO shrieking and sobbing.

“What happened?” I called, wondering what on earth could be the problem now.

“I fell out of a tree!” He bellowed, clearly scared shitless.

Holy balls, he broke his arm, I thought, my brain instantly going into hyper action Mom mode.

“Are you Ok?” I called, ready to hop to my feet and either toss everyone in the truck or call the ambulance.

“Yes…” he answered. “I …I think so.” I could tell by his voice that he hadn’t broken anything and was getting over the initial moment of his life flashing before his eyes.

“I told you not to climb that tree!” It was a Crab apple type tree, and not super big.

“The branch snapped under my foot!” He was peering in the tent window now .

“Are you Ok?”

“Yes. I’m ok. I got scratched though.”

“Did you break anything? Do you need to go to the er?”


“Ok. Sit somewhere calmly until we’re done putting them to bed.”


They went to bed easily and then Eric ran into town with Mr 9YO while I started cleaning up the campsite.

When Eric returned, he pointed to the picnic table and said, “What about that huge spider?”

“Yes right.” I replied, mostly ignoring the table because he was always busting my balls about spiders about to attack me.

“No really.” He said. “Is that a black widow?”

“Yea right.” I said again and walked away, continuing my clean up. “They’re smaller than that, right?”

“It’s got the hourglass.”

“What?!” This is me, in a constant state of disbelief and shrieking doubt, as if I just don’t believe anything.

What?! I can’t believe this person tailgating us right now.

What?! It was that cheap??

What?! Are you back talking me AGAIN?!

What?! This place is awesome!

Any hoo.

I went to investigate and sure enough, this pointy black spider had a red blob on its underbelly.

Eric was filming it with the flashlight on and I thought, Sweet! Footage of this beast!

He brought it to the bushes and It seemingly scampered off, though I imagined it plotting its revenge from the branches and returning, en wrathe, in the middle of the night, breaking into the tent and killing us all in our sleep.

Five minutes later, “It’s in my pants.” Eric is half limping towards me.

I looked over, wondering if he was making some kind of crude joke. He was holding his knee, the fabric of the jeans bunched in his fingertips.

“I think it bit me.”


Seems tonight was the night…

…for freak emergency room visits.

Fuckin a, bit by a black widow spider.

Back into hyper action Wife mode I go until seconds later, when he’s digging around the leg of his jeans.

“It’s a bur.” He pulled the mini mace out and sure enough, it was NOT a spider.

Sigh again.

Turns out that the camera hadn’t been on, either, so we didn’t actually have footage of the fearsome creature. 🕷

Soon, all kids were asleep and the wind had died down with a full moon over the tent. It was slightly too chilly to take the rainfly off but falling asleep with ocean waves in the distance was worth the splurge.

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